It’s been 40 years since 32-year-old Dorothy Jane Scott from Stanton, California, disappeared. What exactly happened on that warm summer night in 1980, when she was meant to help out a colleague, is not exactly known. What we do know is that she was found in a ditch.
Dorothy wasn’t like other moms that you may hear about in these kinds of stories. She didn’t do drugs or drink alcohol – she was clean and preferred to stay home or go to church. A devout Christian, she seemed to be pursuing a peaceful life. Tragically, her quiet life came to a violent end.
A Quiet, Single-Mom Life
Dorothy worked in Anaheim as a secretary at The Swinger’s Psych Shop and Custom John’s Head. A single mom to her 4-year-old son Shawn, she had her parents, Jacob and Vera, help her out with her son (the father didn’t live in the area). So, while Dorothy was at work, Shawn was with grandma and grandpa.
She was close to her family. In fact, she and Shawn lived with her aunt. No one who knew her could make sense of her disappearance. No one saw it coming. Well… there was something. In the months leading up to her disappearance, Dorothy started getting these strange phone calls…
On the Night of May 38, 1980
On May 28, 1980, as Dorothy was about to head home after an employees’ meeting, she noticed a strange bite mark on her co-worker, Conrad Bostron’s arm. Concerned, she offered to drive him to the hospital (the U.S. Irvine Medical Center). Their colleague, Pam Head, went along with them.
At about 9 p.m., Dorothy first made a stop at her parents’ home to check on Shawn and let them know she’d be late to pick him up. While there, she also changed her scarf from a black one to a warmer red one. Dorothy then drove her colleagues to the hospital.
The Last Time She Was Seen Alive
When they arrived at the emergency room, they learned that Conrad had been bitten by a dangerous black widow spider. He was given treatment and discharged at 11 p.m. That’s when Dorothy went to get her car so she could pick her colleagues up at the front door.
But Dorothy never made it to the front door. In fact, she was never seen alive again. Conrad and Pam went to look for Dorothy, and as they were searching, they suddenly saw her white station wagon flying towards them in the parking lot.
They Reported Her Missing
Naturally, the two thought it was Pam driving her own car. They waved their arms, trying to flag her down. But the headlights were too bright for either Conrad or Pam to see just who was behind the wheel. The car then whipped past them, made a sharp turn out of the parking lot, and vanished from view.
Confused at first, the pair just figured that Dorothy had to rush off to get her son or something. But when they hadn’t heard from their friend for several hours, they started to worry. They ended up calling the police to report her missing.
A Mystery Caller
The next morning, Dorothy’s station wagon was found 10 miles from the hospital, abandoned and burnt in an alleyway. Dorothy wasn’t in the car. The police got to work immediately, starting with the theory that Dorothy had been kidnapped.
The police were already aware that prior to her vanishing, Dorothy was receiving regular and terrifying phone calls from some mystery caller. Dorothy told her friends about this anonymous male voice on the phone, remarking that it sounded familiar to her. Still, she was never able to figure out just who was calling her.
“When I Get You Alone…”
What kind of things was this caller telling her on the phone? He would threaten her: “When I get you alone, I will cut you up into bits so no one will ever find you.” The man would call Dorothy frequently, ringing her up almost every day.
Dorothy had reported the incidents to the police, who then installed a voice recorder at her house. The caller repeatedly warned her that he was always watching her, at all times, day and night. One evening, he told her to look outside…
A Single, Dead Rose
When Dorothy cautiously looked outside, she saw the “gift” that the caller told her he had left for her. On the hood of her car was a single, dead rose. It was clear to Dorothy that her phone stalker wasn’t just some innocent crush.
This was clearly a sick man – with a familiar voice – who was looking to terrorize her. And he succeeded. Naturally, it was believed that she disappeared at the hands of this mystery caller. But there was no evidence at the time. It was 1980, after all.
She Started Taking Karate Lessons
Receiving the dead rose was a morbid symbol in itself and understandably scary. According to Dorothy’s mother, Dorothy was so scared by these chilling calls that she started taking karate lessons as a means of self-defense.
Still, she never expected for the sick pranks to escalate to the point of getting kidnapped. In those days, unfortunately, there wasn’t much awareness of stalking and the danger that such behavior really poses, especially on young women. We hear about these stories now, but hindsight is always 20/20.
She Never Saw Who He Was
In 1980, people didn’t instinctively expect phone calls to lead to actual murder. In general, stalking isn’t taken as seriously as it should be. Dorothy’s phone stalker wasn’t suspected to be an ex-boyfriend or anyone she was dating.
She would have recognized the voice if it was. This man, however, knew her and was able to watch her. He followed her and made a note of her movements, her clothes, everything. And he managed to do it without being ever being spotted by Dorothy.
Obsessed and Fixated
Based solely on his phone calls, it was obvious that this man was obsessed with Dorothy−in love with her. We now know that obsession and fixation are typical stalking behaviors and key red flags for how dangerous a stalker can be.
That night at the hospital was a random event – it was unplanned. Yet the stalker knew where she was. He must have followed her and waited in the shadows until she finally had a moment alone, without her co-workers. And when she made her way to the car at 11 p.m., he pounced.
The Stalking Didn’t End There
Okay, so you might think that after this stalker (allegedly) had his way with his victim, right? Wrong. The bizarre part of this story is that the story didn’t end there. Two weeks after Dorothy went missing, her stalker found a new person to taunt.
“Are you related to Dorothy Scott?” he asked Dorothy’s mother when he first called her. “Well, I’ve got her.” The stalker essentially replaced Dorothy with her mother and started calling Vera Scott every Wednesday.
Hello, Mrs. Scott
Every Wednesday, when Vera was alone in her house, the phone rang. The caller would ask her, “Is Dorothy there?” or simply say, “I’ve got her.” Vera recalled that the caller knew eerily specific details about her daughter, like what color her scarf was on the night she vanished. Was this an anonymous confession?
Was this caller her daughter’s killer? The police insisted that Vera and Jacob Scott never reveal anything to the press that might compromise the case. In the days after his daughter went missing, Jacob was advised by the police to keep a tight lip — no talking to newspapers, reporters, media.
Mr. Scott Cracked
Then, one day, Jacob cracked and contacted the local newspaper, The Santa Ana Register, to tell them about his daughter. After his wife got that phone call about the stalker having their daughter, he called the Register to tell them about the call, after which they ran a story about his daughter’s disappearance.
The article about Dorothy’s disappearance was published on June 12, 1980. On the day the story ran, a call came in to the desk of Pat Riley, an editor at the Register. It was the stalker, and he told the editor something that had yet to reach the public.
“I Killed Dorothy Scott”
The caller confessed to murdering Dorothy, and even provided his motive. “I killed her,” he told Riley. “I killed Dorothy Scott. She was my love. I caught her cheating with another man. She denied having someone else. I killed her.” He then revealed details about the kidnapping that were previously unknown.
It couldn’t have been some copycat or a hoax because the caller provided details a phony wouldn’t have known – details that hadn’t been printed. He knew that Dorothy was wearing a red scarf that night. He even knew about Conrad’s spider bite.
Did She Call Him That Night?
The caller also claimed that Dorothy had called him to tell him she was at the hospital. Pam, however, said this couldn’t have been the case as Dorothy never her side when they were at the hospital. She only left her once, when she went to use the bathroom, right before going out to get her car.
After this call, the police started questioning everyone in Dorothy’s life. One of the first people they spoke to was Shawn’s father. The thing is he had an air-tight alibi: he was in Missouri, where he lived.
The One, Unidentified Lead
The authorities also questioned employees and customers of the shop that Dorothy worked at. But since she worked in the back office, she had little contact with the sometimes oddball characters that would frequent the shop.
Police looked at sex offenders in the area but were met with only dead ends. Dorothy’s parents tried consulting multiple psychics. In fact, it was even reported that detectives consulted their own psychic. There was only one lead, though, and that was the caller – the unidentified caller.
Tapping the Lines
The police placed a recorder in the Scotts’ home, managing to get the caller’s voice on tape. The problem was that no one recognized his voice, which was seemingly disguised. The Scotts also had the lines tapped, but the stalker never stayed on the line long enough for the call to be traced.
Believe it or not, these terrorizing calls continued for four years, during which the caller continued to haunt Dorothy’s parents. Until, on one night in April 1984, when Jacob answered the phone…
Did He Know Her Father?
As soon as the stalker heard Jacob’s voice, he immediately hung up. He didn’t call back for another four months. This incident suggests that the caller was worried Dorothy’s father would recognize his voice. Did Jacob know this man?
According to Jacob, he speculated that the stalker must have assumed that new residents moved in and were now living in the house. Then, come August of that year, the case blew wide open again. On August 6, 1984, over four years since Dorothy’s disappearance, her partially burnt remains were discovered.
Finding Her Remains
Three and a half months after that call, a construction worker stumbled upon skeletal remains on a construction site off Santa Ana Canyon Road in Anaheim. What he saw first were the remains of a dog. Under the dog’s bones, however, were human bones covered lightly with soil.
With this new evidence, investigators could now form a timeline. Two years earlier, in October 1982, a local fire had broken out at the same location. This suggested that Dorothy’s remains had most likely been there since that fire.
A Possible Cult Connection
Still, no identity was ever made as to who the stalker was. The mystery was still unsolved, and what made it even more confusing was the discovery of the bones of a dog that lay next to Dorothy’s. This discovery led some to suggest that the murder had a cult connection.
With that, the name of a suspect was raised: Mike Butler. Butler was a mechanic who lived in the Santiago Mountains and held “alternate religious beliefs.” He was never seriously considered by the police, though. Web sleuths, however, think he may have been the culprit, and you’ll see why…
When the Watch Stopped Ticking
Other items were found with Dorothy’s body – a turquoise ring that her mother confirmed belonged to Dorothy and a watch, which stopped ticking at 12:32 a.m. on May 29. This piece of evidence was very useful, in that it pointed to an hour after Pam and Conrad last saw Dorothy’s car speed out of the parking lot that night.
Days after finding Dorothy’s remains, the stalker started another round of phone calls to the Scotts. As he did previously, he asked if Dorothy was home when Vera answered the phone.
To Their Grave
The family went ahead and held a memorial service on August 22, 1984, finally laying their daughter to rest and getting at least some closure on the never-ending nightmare. Sadly, Dorothy’s parents never got the answers they spent the rest of their lives searching for.
Jacob died in 1994, on Dorothy’s birthday, and Vera passed away in 2002. As for Dorothy’s son, Shawn, he never got to find out who took his mother’s life. But that doesn’t stop people from doing their own armchair detective work.
An Update in the Case
A site called Crimeblogger1983 has reported an update on the case. The blogger wrote that he/she had been in contact with Shawn Scott. Shawn provided him with some information as well as some photos of his mother.
Interestingly, as Shawn told Crimeblogger1983, he never heard of the names Pam Head and Conrad Bostron. Obviously, he knew of the story, but her co-workers’ names were never mentioned to him. Shawn told Crimeblogger1983 that he doesn’t remember his mother. He was simply too young. He was told, though, that she was a loving mom.
The One Identifiable Suspect
After her murder, Dorothy’s friends offered to adopt Shawn, but Jacob wouldn’t have it. Speaking with Shawn, Crimeblogger1983 learned that the shop Dorothy worked for, Swinger’s Psych Shop, was previously owned by Jacob Scott.
A man named John Kycola then purchased the store from him. Shawn told the blogger that he became aware of a suspect, through several of his mother’s friends, who lived in Missouri. That suspect was Mike Butler – the mechanic with the strange behavior. More was to be learned about Butler, who was an unstable individual involved in cult activity.
Who Is This Mike Butler?
The major connection? That he was apparently obsessed with Dorothy. Even more intriguing: his sister worked with Dorothy at the Swinger’s Psych Shop. This would make sense considering the stalker always knew Dorothy’s schedule, and the fact that Conrad was bitten by a spider.
According to the blog, Butler’s sister became something of a local celebrity. Shawn told Crimeblogger1983 that he has tried to contact Butler’s sister, but she has repeatedly avoided him. Again, the authorities knew about Butler, but didn’t have enough evidence to consider him a person of interest.
A “Bear of a Man”
Even if Butler was indeed the stalker and killer, he’s gone now. He died in 2014, and obituaries have been circulating on the web sleuth pages. Butler was described as a “bear of a man” – the type of man you wouldn’t want as your friend or even your neighbor.
He was a deeply religious man with a “scraggly” beard and an endless array of hats. People tended to follow him. He was the son of a New Zealand “war bride” and Army Captain who lugged his family along to every post he was assigned to.
From the Army to the Roadie
Butler was drafted into the U.S. Army at the age of 20, where his attitude and attention led him to serve as a Drill Instructor for new recruits. He was then sent overseas to Germany in 1967 and became a reporter (he wrote for Stars and Stripes News).
After the Army, Butler’s life was very different. He became a roadie for several rock bands, including the Beach Boys and Birtha, an all-girl rock band his sister belonged to. He eventually settled in Orange County and started working as a mechanic.
The Winning Theory
He moved to Orcas Island and became the “go-to” guy for home and business repairs – a local handyman. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, which he eventually succumbed to. Multiple web sleuths have made their theories known that Butler is a likely suspect in the Dorothy Scott case.
The main theory is that Butler grew enraged when he saw Dorothy with Conrad. With his delusions, he felt as though he was in a relationship with her; her relationship with Conrad was the infidelity he alluded to in that call to the newspaper.
Unfortunately, the identity of Dorothy’s killer has yet to be discovered.
The Case of Amy Billig
Dorothy Scott wasn’t the only one who vanished and then showed up dead in the area during that era. Of the several similar cases, one that stands out is the disappearance of 17-year-old Amy Billig. Amy remains a missing person and was last seen in 1974 while hitchhiking in her hometown of Coconut Grove, Florida.
Right after her disappearance, her mother, Susan, started getting strange phone calls. The caller had a name though; he was a man named Hal Johnson, and he told Susan that he’d abducted her daughter.
She Went All Over the Country
Hal then told her that he sold her daughter to a biker gang as a sex slave. Whether or not Hal was the person responsible, or whether what he said was even true – Susan didn’t know. But over the next two decades, his clues sent Susan all over the United States.
She would investigate the perhaps bogus clues that Hal would give her, interviewing bikers and hitchhikers in corners of the country she would never have imagined existed. One thing was for sure: she was devoted to finding answers.
And Nearly Went Bankrupt
The extremes Susan went to finding her daughter nearly bankrupted her. She and her husband Ned were forced to sell their business and move into a much smaller home. All the while, Hal kept calling Susan. After Ned passed away from lung cancer, Hal called to pay his “respects.”
He told her: “Ned’s dead, isn’t he? You’re alone now, aren’t you? You’d better watch out.” He would offer her updated information about her daughter’s whereabouts – that she had been trafficked overseas. She was allegedly heading to Saudi Arabia.
Henry Johnson Blair, the Customs Agent
Hal said the sheik who bought her had a special request: “He wants to see you and her together,” Hal told her. The sickening calls just kept coming. The phone calls persisted, with Susan sometimes receiving six or seven a night. By 1995, call tracing technology finally advanced.
Up until that point, Susan knew the caller as Hal Johnson, but it was finally revealed that the identity of her harasser was 48-year-old Henry Johnson Blair. He was actually a U.S. Customs agent, a 25-year veteran of the agency, too.
“Just a Bunch of Crank Calls”
As a Customs investigator, Henry was well-decorated and highly respected. A group supervisor, he managed the anti-smuggling outfit. He was a married man with two grown daughters. What did Henry have to say for himself?
He chalked his 21-year campaign up to “just a bunch of crank calls.” He also cited undiagnosed obsessive-compulsive disorder, stress at his work, and alcoholism. He was ultimately convicted of aggravated stalking in 1996 and sentenced to two years in prison. Three years later, in 1999, Susan accepted a $5 million settlement she filed against her harasser.
Call Him Hank
The one thing she never got from him was an apology or answers about her daughter’s actual whereabouts. Although Henry denied any involvement in Amy Billig’s disappearance, he wasn’t officially ruled out as a suspect.
Interestingly, a journal entry of Amy’s was written weeks before her disappearance, which read: “Hank says as soon as I finish school, he wants me to go to South America with him. I told him he’s crazy.” Hank was Henry’s nickname. He also reportedly took several trips to South America in the early 1970s as a sky marshal.
All Signs Point to Him
There was also one of Amy’s photos that she took with her own camera. The photo showed a van that matched the same description of the white van Blair was driving at the time of her disappearance. Witnesses stated that Amy was last seen getting into a beige van.
Henry ended up dying in 2006, and whatever answers he had, went to the grave with him. Susan died a year earlier, without any closure – just like Dorothy Scott’s parents.
A Deathbed Confessional
In 2005, new information arose about Amy’s case. Jack Calvar, the case’s lead detective, said he discovered what happened to the teenager. Paul Branch, a former Pagans motorcycle gang “enforcer,” confessed something as he lay on his death bed.
As his life was coming to an end, the convicted hitman told his wife how Amy was kidnapped and taken to a “party” in the Everglades. Before the party was over, she was dead. She was drugged, raped, and killed, after which her body was dumped into the Everglades.
Within Hours of Her Abduction
Detective Calvar told The Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale that all of this allegedly took place within hours of her abduction. Paul Branch had actually been interviewed by police over the years, but he never admitted to knowing Amy or what happened to her.
Calvar said that Branch’s confession was first reported by his wife when he passed away, and it included many details that were consistent with investigators’ previous reports. Susan was still alive, in her 70s, at the time of this revelation.
It Was Probably the Pagans
Susan said she was aware of the latest update but didn’t want to discuss it. “It’s been a harrowing past few days,” she said in an interview. “It’s too painful to even talk about.” Based on mass interviews as well as Paul Branch’s confession, Calvar believes the Pagans were the ones who picked up Amy.
He thinks they kidnapped her as she headed – probably via hitchhiking – to her father’s art gallery about a mile away. At the time, this means of transportation was actually very common.
She Started to Insult Them
“Once in the car or van, it wouldn’t have been too hard to control a 17-year-old girl with a bunch of guys,” Calvar said. Amy was a thin girl who weighed 102 pounds; her height was 5 feet 5 inches. The party she was taken to was where the gang had a trailer clubhouse.
In those days, the motorcycle gang (quite like the Hell’s Angels) were major dealers in drugs, guns, and prostitutes. Calvar explained that Amy started insulting some of the bikers. “You don’t do that in those groups.”
Just Ask the Prisoner
It was then that they started “to teach her a lesson.” She most likely tried to fight back, but they “kept pumping her with dope.” Eventually, her heart stopped. Her attackers then dumped her body in the swamp.
“We will never find a body,” Calvar stated. The case isn’t closed, though. Calvar interviewed a man who Paul’s wife mentioned as someone with possible information. This man was already in prison for murder since May of 1974. When interviewed by Calvar, he gave some unconvincing denials.